While there are a number of superheroes I took an immediate liking to when first encountering them, there are only a few to whom I had visceral negative reactions. One of them was Silk. One minute she was a superhero who could possibly give Peter Parker a run for his money; the next she offered up little more than steamy make out sessions and bad decisions. From one panel to the next, Marvel lost me.
So what am I doing reviewing a Silk comic? That’s a question I imagine I’m going to ask myself a few times throughout my first few reviews of this book. However, today I am determined to take it one issue at a time. When I read “Spider-Verse,” I found Cindy Moon unnecessary and during “Spider-Women,” she was just annoying. I’m putting all of that out of my mind starting today and taking a look at this character with fresh eyes.
Providing little reference, this issue throws readers right into the action. There are pseudo-zombies, decomposition, and a Spider-Man cameo. Blink and you’ll miss it all. With Silk # 17, Robbie Thompson and Irene Strychalski craft a somewhat clunky yet enjoyable tie-in to “Clone Conspiracy” with emotional consequences for all the major players of this series.
Although I feel a bit exhausted from zombie everything, the consequences of New U are the most fascinating part of this issue. Thompson highlights the emotions that Silk and Jonah go through when confronted with the idea they could lose people close to them for a second time. They are given hope only to have it taken away in a moment through actions by the Jackal. Additionally, instead of being able to truly spend a moment to try and halt the process, there are bodies trying to break through doors to infect those who have nothing to do with New U. Even though zombies are known for being slow, the action here has a fast pace that leaves little time for feelings. Most of the emotion of Silk #17 comes sprinkled throughout shots of bodies falling apart and Spider-Man hanging around a bit uselessly before saving the day, but it is there if you look closely.
Robbie Thompson also strives to lighten the tone a bit. With Mattie’s quips about being a superhero and the quick banter between Silk and Spider-Man, there is the intention to balance out the death and destruction left behind. His jokes aren’t seamless, with the timing a touch off, but it does add another element to the action. There’s a thoughtfulness throughout issue #17 to create a layered comic, and while it doesn’t always pan out perfectly, it does make this a comic with potential. I don’t need a 10/10 every time I pick up an issue, even though that would be great; what I do need is a comic with effort that shows constant fine tuning, and Silk could be that book.
As a comic reader, more often than not, the art is the first thing I notice when opening an issue. My first impression of Strychalski’s art was through J. Jonah Jameson, and I can’t say that it was good. I think of Jonah as a curmudgeon who’s every movement and facial expression reflects that. Here, he’s drawn more akin to a silver fox, and my brain cannot handle it. Though the fact that his wife and Mattie are back may help with his stress levels, his smooth forehead and inherent calmness don’t jive with the Jonah we all know. Besides my gripes with Jameson, the art throughout the rest of this issue is engaging. It’s light and fun with a youthful feel. One thing I do know about Cindy is that her time in the bunker left her with a high school personality, and Strychalski’s doe eyes and simplicity underscore that perfectly. While the lightheartedness of the pencils contrasts the more solemn tone at the end of the issue, there is a lot of promise in this art, and I can’t wait to see more.
For those of you out there like me who are relatively new to Silk, this is not a good introductory issue. Action heavy and falling right in the middle of “The Clone Conspiracy,” #17 is an issue to pick up if you are a hardcore Cindy Moon fan. There is little character development and the action never reaches a fun fever pitch, but from the breadcrumbs left on the final panels of this issue, I think #18 will have additional depth for those of us who like our superheroes both beating bad guys and tugging on our heartstrings. At least, that’s what this Silk-skeptic hopes for.